When Justice Adrian Fisher gave his ruling on Monday 8th August 2021, he made some specific guidelines on the mechanics of how he expected the Committee to conduct himself, gave specific responsibilities and full authority to the second defendant Ambassador Alhaji Osman Yansanneh on how he should facilitate and support the work of the Committee but above all, he stated that sole purpose of the Committee for the avoidance of all doubts.

On Friday 13th August 2021, the Technical Committee started it’s deliberations but that got off to a shaky start. Two matters were raised up and of such ramifications to the ongoing internecine battles within the party but were given short shrift by the PPRC Chairman whose duty as proscribed by the Judge Adrian Fisher’s ruling was to supervise the deliberations of the Technical Committee.

Firstly, it became apparent that the NRM were unsure as to which faction should be represented on their behalf and also, to what extent the Judge had clearly identified the NRM as a representative group. On the one hand, there seem to be two factions of the NRM in existence. The NRM de facto and the NRM-APC, a singer group that was hijacked from the main group and now led by Sirajin Rollings Kamara.

While it is unclear whether the Judge was deliberate in naming the NRM group to the Technical Committee, the vociferous nature of the NRM – APC presented some additional considerations given that the NRM-APC’s Minkailu Koroma has aligned himself openly with the APC agenda and have since been acting as a surrogate spokesperson for the APC on some key issues.

The PPRC Chairman decided in the end to vary the judgement to enable the NRM and NRM-APC to square the circle by hanging heads to come together with a workable solution for a way forwards. What seem to be an intractable problem are twofold, one is the sibling rivalry between Sheridan and Minkailu, this rivalry having been catapulted to sabre rattling because Sheridan has been adopted by Peter Conteh’s team to act as one of their representatives and named as Secretary to the Technical Committee.

The other consideration that were thrown up had regard to the membership status of the members of the Committee. A brief fracas ensued s to whether all the NRM Members are fully paid up members of the APC.

This issue immediately raised the second point of discussion that caused the shaky start in the first place. The issue of membership then had to be clarified by the PPRC Chairman who made it clear that on the matter of Party membership, that had already been indicated within the judge’s first ruling that any matters concerning APC membership is a matter for the APC at this time until he makes a specific ruling on this matter in the substantive case.

In the event, the interjection by Hon Ibrahim Sourie was deemed to be a veiled attempt to raise a spectre of the membership hiatus of the former Vice President Alhaji Samsumana, expecting that some progress on that issue would put the former Vice President who had formed another political party before he resigned from their to now seek membership of the APC again to the fore simply for him to be eligible to stand as a flag bearer for 2013.

The clarity with which the issue of membership was handled by the Chairman of the PPRC has now put paid to any aspiration that the former APC Vice President may have to aspire for Presidential status at the APC in 2023 is now a distant prospect. In the event that the APC would normalise the membership of the former Vice President, it has been made clear at a previous NAC meeting that such a triumphant welcome will have to be ratified at a National Delegates Conference and that unfortunately, the sole purpose of this upcoming National Delegates Conference is limited in scope and function.

On the other hand, there is opacity on the issue of members of the Technical Committee to the extent that reliable sources intimate that some of the nominees recommended by the NRM and Peter Conteh factions do not at this present moment card carrying, fee paying members of the APC. What this may hold for them would be a matter for the National Secretary General to decide because in practical legal application, the NSG is the final arbiter of APC membership status conferred or otherwise acquired by prospective candidates.

On the whole, as the Technical Committee now braces itself for its role in the process, what is clear is that the National Secretary General of the APC must be ready to bolster the enhanced function of his office to provide the necessary back stopping support to make their work successful.